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Pope Francis visits Camaldolese Monastery of Sant’Antonio Abate



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis just concluded a visit to the Camaldolese Monastery of Sant’Antonio Abate at the foot of Rome's Aventine hill. He went to the cloistered convent to celebrate Vespers with the nuns on the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple, dedicated by the Church to all cloistered religious. He is not the first Pope to visit the convent on the Aventine – both Paul VI and Blessed John Paul II made the short trip across Rome’s Tiber river to visit. The Vespers was solemn, the nuns chanting the office in air filled with incense.

In his homily, based on the readings, Pope Francis spoke about Mary, calling her the mother of Hope. He called on the nuns to be women of hope, saying that hope “nourished by listening , contemplation , patience.” Pope Francis said, that while at the foot of the cross, when everything seems really over, all hope might have been cut off.

“[Mary], too, in that moment, might have said if she remembered the promises of the Annunciation : ‘It was not true! I was deceived .‘ But she did not,” the Pope said. “Instead, she, who was blessed because she believed, by her faith that sees the new future bloom and waits hopefully for the tomorrow of God.”

He went on to say the only lamp on the tomb of Jesus was the hope of the mother, who at that time was the hope of all humanity. He then asked them, is that lamp still burning in the monastery? Do they expect this tomorrow of God? Pope Francis said the mother of hope sustains us in times of doubt and difficulty , discomfort and apparent defeat , and in true human losses.

“Mary, our Hope,” concluded Pope Francis. Help us to make our lives an offering pleasing to our Heavenly Father, and a joyful gift for our brothers, an attitude that always looks to tomorrow .

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